How to prepare a successful parenting plan

The transition into a life post-divorce for Colorado families often comes with challenges that the parents will need to overcome to help their children grow up in a healthy and stable environment. A detailed, thoughtful parenting plan that anticipates future issues and sets up parameters on how to address them can help parents support their children’s well-being as they grow.

What a parenting plan can include

The basic parenting plan focuses on establishing parenting time for the family. However, it can include much more than each parent’s time with their children. Along with establishing when each parent is responsible for the children, it can include agreements about:

• Holidays, family events, vacations, birthdays, and other special occasions
• Religious, educational and medical decisions
• Extracurricular activities such as afterschool clubs, summer camps, and parties
• Storing passports and other important documents
• Discipline, house rules, and chores
• Methods of communication including the steps to resolve future conflicts

Communication is central to successful co-parenting

The better parents can communicate, the more successful their co-parenting can be. In the parenting plan, parents can agree on how they will communicate with each other over the day-to-day decisions, how they will communicate with their children when the children are with the other parent, and how they address any conflicts that they had not foreseen. They can also include what type of information they will share with each other and when, such as how they will deal with new important relationships.

A successful parenting plan is flexible

Just as life will continue to change, so will the family’s needs evolve over time. In that sense, parents need to approach their parenting plan as a flexible document that will need changes over time. When parents identify the need for change, they can agree to add those changes to the parenting to meet the family’s specific needs. Each parenting plan is unique to each family, providing leeway for the parents to create a plan that considers each parent’s and each child’s schedule, interests, and other needs.